Prac One: Alonso quickest, Vettel crashes

Date published: May 6 2011

Fernando Alonso set the pace on a wet Friday morning in Turkey while defending Champ Sebastian Vettel gave his crew a serious repair job.

With the rain coming down in Turkey, it was a very slow start to Practice One with only two drivers setting lap times in the opening thirty minutes.

With the rain then letting up a fraction, Nico Rosberg and Alonso took control of the session, trading fastest lap times with Alonso coming out on top.

And just when Vettel ventured out to put in his charge, the rain came down harder, he put his RB7 on the slippery wet lines at the exit of Turn 8 and he hit the barriers. Session over for the reigning Champ.

Alonso went on to finish Practice One at the top of the timesheets, ahead of Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

McLaren headed out in the final minute with only Jenson Button setting a time.

Report: It was a wet start to Friday’s first practice at the Istanbul Park with the track temperature a mere 11’C. It wasn’t long before the first yellow flags came out as Narain Karthikeyan stopped on the side of the track. While the marshals pushed the Hispania out of harm’s way, the rest of the pack ventured out for their installation laps.

Thirty minutes into the session, Sebastien Buemi and Jerome D’Ambrosio posted the first timesf the morning, a 1:41.632 and a 1:49.518. More drivers headed out with Fernando Alonso the next to lead the way with a 1:40.897 before he was overhauled by Nico Rosberg. Michael Schumacher went third quickest.

Halfway through a very slow session it was Rosberg, Alonso, Schumacher, Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta.

Kobayashi posted the fastest middle sector time to climb to second place but was dropped moments later as Nick Heidfeld slotted his Lotus Renault into the P1 slot, 0.266s behind Rosberg. Vitaly Petrov took third as several drivers reported aquaplaning at the downhill right-hander at Turn 2. Timo Glock spun his Virgin at Turn 11.

Alonso returned to the front of the pack as the rain started to come down harder. The Spaniard, who was on the intermediate tyres, clocked a 1:38.670. The Ferrari driver was quickest through all three sectors.

With his team-mate in 11th place, Sebastian Vettel ventured out. However, the German reported too much aquaplaning – and then he crashed, bringing out the red flags. The reigning World Champ ran wide at the exit kerb of Turn 8, spun across the track, onto the wet grass, had no control of his RB7 and whacked into the barriers causing some serious damage to his car. Vettel, though, was fine and apologised to the team for the error.

Ten minutes later the action resumed with Sergio Perez the first to hit the track. Karthikeyan returned to the action while Red Bull put up barriers, keeping eyes away from Vettel’s car. Schumacher improved to third place, slotting in behind Rosberg. Pastor Maldonado had an impressive slide while di Resta spun and then Schumacher spun.

Practice ended with Alonso quickest, followed by the two Mercedes GP cars.

Times
01. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 01:38.670 13 laps
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes Grand Prix 01:40.072 14 laps
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes Grand Prix 01:40.132 18 laps
4. Nick Heidfeld Renault 01:40.338 9 laps
5. Vitaly Petrov Renault 01:40.401 10 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 01:40.421 16 laps
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 01:40.697 14 laps
8. Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:41.094 18 laps
9. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:41.178 22 laps
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India F1 01:41.347 16 laps
11. Mark Webber Red Bull 01:42.564 5 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 01:42.597 7 laps
13. Paul di Resta Force India F1 01:43.525 11 laps
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 01:43.913 5 laps
15. Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 01:43.986 6 laps
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 01:44.787 20 laps
17. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 01:44.954 4 laps
18. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 01:45.183 15 laps
19. Jerome d’ Ambrosio Virgin Racing 01:45.237 11 laps
20. Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 01:48.461 8 laps
21. Karun Chandhok Team Lotus 01:51.676 6 laps
22. Sergio Perez Sauber 01:55.791 13 laps
23. Jenson Button McLaren 02:00.666 4 laps
24. Lewis Hamilton McLaren no time 1 lap